WVSU On Demand
July 8, 2009
Evans Named To Payton Award Watch List
Samford junior football running back Chris Evans was named to the 2009 Payton Award watch list when the first four names on the list were released by the Sports Network July 7.
"First of all, Chris is a great student-athlete," Samford head football coach Pat Sullivan said. "He has the respect of his teammates with the way he comes to work every day and the things he does on the field. He is an awfully talented young man and we are tickled to have him on our side."
The Walter Payton Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player on the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) level. The winner is chosen by a nationwide panel of media and college sports information directors from the division.
Evans joined fellow SoCon player Armanti Edwards from Appalachian State, who won the 2008 Payton Award, on the list. Also in the first four names released were Will Ford from South Carolina State and Pat Grace from Northern Iowa.
A total of 20 candidates will be announced in alphabetical order prior to the start of the season, with four candidates being released each week.
As a sophomore in 2008, Evans established himself as one of the top running backs in the FCS, as he helped Samford make the difficult transition to the Southern Conference.
Chris Evans is Samford's first running back to rush for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Evans rushed for a school-record 1,284 yards and 14 touchdowns, while averaging 4.9 yards-per-carry. His 1,284 rushing yards made him the first running back in Samford history to rush for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Evans ranked 12th nationally with over 116 yards rushing per game.
An all-around back, Evans was also second on the team with 26 pass receptions. For his efforts, Evans earned first team All-Southern Conference honors by the league's coaches and the SoCon Sports Media Association.
As a team, Samford finished the 2008 season with a 6-5 overall record, the first winning season for the Bulldogs since 2003. The team finished 4-4 in Southern Conference play, good for a tie for fourth place after being picked to finish ninth out of nine teams in the league's preseason polls.
As a freshman in 2007, Evans rushed for 1,033 yards and five touchdowns and earned a place on the Ohio Valley Conference's All-Newcomer team. That season, he rushed for a career-high 212 yards in Samford's Homecoming game against Austin Peay.
He also returned 16 kickoffs for 384 yards in 2007. In his first two seasons, Evans has piled up 2,317 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns and 11 100-yard rushing games. His career rushing total ranks fourth on Samford's all-time list, just 805 yards behind the career leader, Jerome Russell with 3,122 career rushing yards.
Samford opens the 2009 season on Sept. 5, when the Bulldogs travel to Orlando, Fla., to take on the UCF Knights. Samford's home opener is scheduled for Sept. 12 with a game against Jacksonville at Seibert Stadium.